LIVERPOOL find themselves back in the Champions League after a comfortable aggregate victory by six goals to three over Hoffenheim, winning the return leg by four goals to two.
In reality, having found themselves three goals to good within 21 minutes of the second leg having already secured a 2-1 away win in Germany, what remained of the last 80 minutes of the tie was no more than a procession.
But it all could have been so different, a nervy Liverpool crowd going into a second leg of arguably the biggest game of Jurgen Klopp’s tenure with only a slender one-goal lead to protect could have been a recipe for disaster.
Anfield can be its own biggest enemy, fear and doubt can strangle the life out of an atmosphere and transmit doubt on to the pitch, nails gnawed and demons festering in minds that have seen it all before.
A deserved victory in Hoffenheim had barely been celebrated before minds started swirling at the potential minefield of the home leg, an early goal for Hoffenheim and everything was on the line.
On paper and bookies odds showed a straightforward fixture for The Reds, but as ever the game has never been on paper.
Liverpool needed a hero, a man to cast doubt casts asunder, to reassure the restless and fire up Anfield into an indomitable inferno, someone who could inspire Anfield and cast all doubts asunder.
Step forward Julian Nagelsmann, the bright new thing of the Bundesliga.
What is the equivalent to “pin it on the wall” in modern football, do they print off webpages or superglue an iPad to the wall?
Whatever it is, Nagelsmann’s words after the first leg did the trick and then some.
I doubt Jurgen had to utter a single word, just merely wave at an expensive Apple product bosticked to the wall, making sure he touches it every minute or so save it timing out to lock screen and having to input the code to unlock it.
Liverpool are never more dangerous than when they’re in the mood to put someone in their place and having gone into the game calling into question not only the quality of this Liverpool side but also the reputation of one of the most famous arenas of European football, the bright new hope of German football got sent for Der Spiegel with his tail well and truly between his skinny jeans tonight.
Liverpool simply blew away Hoffenheim within 21 minutes of the return leg, going after their opponents that belied the importance of what was at stake.
That The Kop felt able to roll out the songbook as early as 22 minutes was a damning indictment of the 30-year-old coach’s team whose charges who ended the two-legged tie on the end of a 6-3 defeat.
Nagelsmann is a fine coach who has achieved phenomenal results for someone so young, but the outcome of this qualifier will be a sobering result.
He also isn’t the first, and he certainly won’t be the last to question the power of Anfield, a stadium which is never more threatening than when it’s being called into question.
Roll on the Champions League Reds.
READ: Liverpool 4 Hoffenheim 2: The Final Whistle
READ: Liverpool 4 Hoffenheim 2: Match Ratings
READ: Liverpool 4 Hoffenheim 2: Match Review
LISTEN: Liverpool 4 Hoffenheim 2: The Post-Match Show
Pics: David Rawcliffe-Propaganda Photo
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Really don’t know what he was playing at setting himself up like that. Perhaps it had to do with losing at home for the first time in a long time. Maybe it was because he lost to Klopp. Who knows. He clearly fancies himself as this unflappable character, but his team folded tonight. Crushed by the power of Anfield, Jurgen’s Reds and their rock and roll football. Lesson learned for Nagelsmann. Humility costs nothing.
Led Zeppelin anyone?
(Since you guys are “fond of music” and don’t always get my comments straight away -“the video artist” for example- I may add: “We gonna send you back to school again!” ..Whole lotta love, I think it was)
Next time dont talk so much…cocky young germans always need putting in their place lol…Klopp although was similar when young never dissed an opponent and always spoke with respect, something this young upstart can learn. Also prob think he was mad at jurgen as klopp didnt give him too much respect after the first leg. typical young guy , talented but much much to learn before talking too much about the big boys…
doubt Jurgen had to utter a single word, just merely wave at an expensive Apple product bosticked to the wall, making sure he touches it every minute or so save it timing out to lock screen and having to input the code to unlock it.
My favourite sentence of the season so far.
Right up there with “Mignolet left to reflect on how much easier his job is without a left-back who chases after the dog on the advertising hoardings”!
If someone could post the match highlights on youtube, soundtracked with AC/DC’s ‘THUNDERSTRUCK’, that’d be great
Wish the whole of Anfield sang that before during a match.
So far heavy metal football happens only in the opponents half. Wish Jurgen gets it in the defensive side too.
Agreed. All the ‘proper scousers’ would hate it cos it’s wool as fuck but guess what ? Jurgen is a wool. A cool wool :-)
The Europa League final was bigger, but that’s quibbling. We’re back where we belong. And hopefully it was a sobering lesson for Coutinho, who is not in any position to start acting like a diva when his fellow Reds are tearing it up.
Nagelsmann refused to accept that his tactics were to blame for his team’s defeat.Instead, the 30-year-old suggested that his players had failed to implement his game plan properly.
He said: “We were running around like headless chickens. Liverpool played as they did in the first leg. We had far too many gaps.
“Maybe the team were too emotional. For the first 20 to 30 minutes, there were two or three players who didn’t seem to be on the pitch at all.”
Not shy on lashing his lads under the bus is he? he’s got some ego on him.
Thought the same thing myself KM.
Of course we played the same way you preening little cockmonkey.
We are Liverpool.
Up the Tuesday & Wednesday night Reds.
You wanna run with the big dogs … you gotta be able to piss on one leg!
I dont know what the fume is about…What do you expect the man to say..”Hey Anfield is nothing like my players have ever experienced and we will crumble under the pressure..”…
He played a psychological game to get his team focused and motivated..So what!!!
A young manager, going down fighting..fair play to him.
Having said that….What he should be more alarmed at was his mad tactics…A backline against our attack is bordering on kamikaze behaviour…What was he thinking there..Hoffenheim have come a long way and were a decent outfit at times but they including the manager has alot to learn…We move on..
Take that you have a lot to learn don’t disrespect epically a team with the pedigree of LFC so go back to where ever in Germany your team is from and take tail from between your legs and learn and enjoy watching Tuesday and Wednesday games #ynwa